Did you know Concorde used the afterburners only on take-off and for a short while between Mach 0.95 and 1.5?

Did you know Concorde used the afterburners only on take-off and for a short while between Mach 0.95 and 1.5?

By Dario Leone
May 2 2023
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Concorde had the throttles set to 100% dry power on take-off and left them there. Reheat (afterburner) was used for 90 seconds on take-off and then for a short while between Mach 0.95 and 1.5. Then off again.

The Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde was a British-French supersonic passenger jet airliner. It had a maximum speed of Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude, over twice the speed of sound), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. The aircraft entered service in 1976 and continued flying for the next 27 years.

Concorde, which was jointly developed and manufactured by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty, was built in twenty samples including six prototypes and development aircraft.

Air France (AF) and British Airways (BA) were the only airlines to purchase and fly Concorde.

The supersonic airliner flew regular transatlantic flights from London’s Heathrow Airport and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Washington Dulles International Airport and Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados; it flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners.

Another interesting thing about this unique airliner is that it didn’t use the afterburner during her Mach 2 transatlantic flights.

In fact, according to an interesting post appeared on Quora, Concorde had the throttles set to 100% dry power on take-off and left them there. Reheat (afterburner) was used for 90 seconds on take-off and then for a short while between Mach 0.95 and 1.5. Then off again.

Throttles were left at 100% until top of descent.

Dry the RR Olympus 593–611 engines produced 30,400lbs of thrust and with afterburner 38,000lbs, so she still had quite a lot of thrust up her sleeve at Mach 2.0 because she supercruised (sustained supersonic flight without afterburner) further and longer than any aircraft in history.

Concorde was design heat limited to Mach 2.3. That was accepted during the design phase when the Hiduminium (RR high temp aluminium alloy) was chosen rather than opting for far more expensive Titanium or Stainless Steel.

It was service limited to Mach 2.04. and normally cruised between Mach 2.0 and 2.04 depending on the temperature in cruise.

BA Concorde
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: AP


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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